What To Know About Fire Ants In Florida
Did you know fire ants are not native to America? They are also known as "red imported fire ants" or "red harvester ants" and originally came from Brazil in the 1940's. Since then they have spread like fire across the southeastern United States, including right here in Florida. It is important to know a few things about fire ants in Florida and how to avoid their painful stings.
What Are Fire Ants?
Fire ants are small measuring about 1/8" to 1/4" long. They are identified by their dull red color on their body. If you end up getting close, they also have two characteristic bumps on their abdomen. Unfortunately, fire ants are well known for their painful stings, which in combination with their aggressive manner can make encounters with them very unpleasant.
Because of their small size, it is actually easier to identify them by their mounds. The mounds, which they call home, can be small bumps in the ground to large mounds of dirt measuring up to 18 inches tall. Unlike a typical anthill with an opening on the top, fire ant mounds do not have a recognizable opening. A large fire ant mound can house up to 200,000 ants, which is why Florida fire ant control is important for keeping your home and your yard safe from these pests.
Surprising Facts About Fire Ants
Fire ants are much different than your typical house ant. They are very smart insects, which is what makes them a potentially dangerous pest for your yard.
When a fire ant mound is disturbed or attacked, the fire ant colony will attack the enemy as one unit. Ants can quickly detect the source and are ready to attack stinging their enemy repeatedly.
Unlike most ants, fire ants don't bite. They sting. Their sting feels like a burning sensation to humans, which gives them their catchy name. A fire ant sting will continue to itch and burn for days. In some cases a small pus filled area will develop where the stinger is lodged.
Luckily for humans, fire ants typically build their nests outdoors. You can often find them in open parks and fields. However, they are known to invade home owner's yards as well. You will notice them lining the grass on humid days. Regular lawn fertilizer treatments can help to keep fire ants out of your yard.
A queen fire ant will mate with a male and quickly kill him in the process. The queen then flies to a new site to start a colony. She will lay 800 eggs in a day. The average fire ant colony will grow to house between 100,000 to 500,000 fire ants.
If fire ants get on your skin or clothing, brush them off quickly. Their grip is extremely strong. So, trying to shake them off will do little to get rid of them. Their sting can be severe. If you develop symptoms from an encounter with fire ants, you will want to seek medical attention right away, especially if you may be allergic to insect stings.
About Fire Ant Control In Tampa Bay
If you attempt to get rid of a fire ant mound on your own, you may be in for a large challenge. Not only are fire ants dangerous in huge numbers, but their tunnels run deep into the ground and many colonies have several queen fire ants. Over the counter methods can actually cause queens to spread in your yard and form multiple colonies out of the one you are trying to treat.
If you happen to notice fire ant mounds growing in your yard, the safest course of action is to call the fire ant experts at Super D Pest Control. They can provide guidance about fire ants and recommend a treatment program that will get rid of them and keep them away from your home and family. Call us today at (727) 433-5310 or use the contact form below to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you.